Excerpts from: Sacred Seed

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“Diversity is a product of care, connection, and cultural pride. The mango breeders wanted to give us the best taste, the best quality. So they evolved the diversity of the delicious dasheri, langra, alphonso…
“The tribals and peasants who gave us rice diversity wanted to develop a rice for lactating mothers, a rice for babies, a rice for old people. They wanted to have rices that survive droughts and floods and cyclones, so they evolved climate-resilient rices. In the Himalaya, different rices are needed for different altitudes and different slopes. The intimacy and care that go with belonging to a place and a community allows diversity to flourish. Conserving and growing diversity comes as naturally as breathing.”

—Vandana Shiva
From the Introduction


“Every seed contains the potential to save the world. Each seed can keep millions of people from starvation. Each seed is a mirror and guardian of the world’s future. Each seed is the ecology that can sustain the economy. This is why seeds are sacred and why they are traditionally believed to be miraculous in indigenous circles.”

—His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Essay: Sacred Seed – The Orthodox Christian Tradition


“The food that shows up on our plates, meal after meal, is made available through far-reaching chains of interactions—of many people who have struggled under terrible conditions, of animals that are painfully exploited, and land that has been misused and contaminated. When we eat that food, the least we can do is feel some gratitude to all the beings that have taken part in the process so that we can live. It is essential that we awaken the seed of compassion in ourselves and make ethical choices that minimize the suffering of others.”

—HH the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Essay: The Seed of Compassion


“In every seed lie the components of all life the world has known from all time to now.”

—Sister Joan Chittister
Essay : Seeds of a New Humanity


“The fact that we have to fight for something so essential to life as the integrity of seeds, speaks to the real drama of this present time: that we have to fight to preserve what is most fundamental and sacred to life.”

—Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Essay: Seeds and the Story of the Soul


“Each moment of time carries the potentiality of a seed that unfolds into future events.”

—Swami Veda Bharati
Essay: Seed as the Cosmic Principle


“Our kabbalists looked to the pomegranate as their metaphor for mystical union, a state they called Pardes Rimonim, the Garden of Pomegranates, where the infinite seeds of compassion, love, justice, and hope take root in the lives of those who enter it.”

—Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Essay: Seeds of Promise


“A seed is small but rich with possibility, like love, which is as humble as it is powerful.”

—Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
Essay: The Seed of Love


“Ordinary seeds need the right combination of soil, water, and climate to grow. Once those conditions are in alignment, the seed will naturally begin to develop. The seed of Buddha Nature is the same. It will lie dormant until the right conditions come together. But once we discover this potential within us, we can water our seed with loving kindness and prepare its bed with mindfulness. When we do so, the growth of the seed of awakening will be effortless and natural.”

—Acharya Judy Lief
Essay: A Little Seed of Awakening


“The mechanical world can be seen as information. The organismic world is one of wisdom.”

—Swami Atmarupananda
Essay: Seed of Wisdom


“Because of the nature of our constitution, we have been gifted with a diversity of seeds and nutrients to ensure our survival. These gifts are not about reinforcing our human propensity to dominate; rather they are about how we can learn to be a steward, within the sacred contract. It is only when we can humble ourselves enough to bow to this sacred contract that our survival is assured.”

—Sobonfu Somé
Essay: The Sacred Bond


“The physical manifestation of the nous spermaticos—as it was called by later mystics—was assumed to be the seed. Therefore the seed was considered to be sacred: a sacred embodiment of the omnipresent cosmic
intelligence, which by the nutrition and care of Gaia unfolds and grows into the world of existence.”

—Christoph Quarch
Essay: The Sacred Mystery of Physis: Honoring Seed in Ancient Greece


“The essence of our spiritual teachings is our connection with God, the Supreme Soul, the Seed—Shiva. The word ‘Shiva’ means ‘the Seed,’ ‘the Creator,’ and also ‘the Point’ (of light) and ‘the Benefactor.'”

—Sister Jayanti
Essay: The Seed—The Source


“Plant seeds contain the story of creation, the spiritual law for the continuance of life, the natural law for relationship with the sun, winds, air, water, rains, microorganisms, minerals of the soil, and other companion plants. To alter them is to disobey the laws of the Creator. Their integrity is the inherited legacy for the generations of the unborn. It is our duty to return the seeds to the coming generations in the same state as the seeds were gifted to us.”

—Kahontakwas Diane Longboat
Essay: Seeds of the Spirit: A Call to Spiritual Action for Mother Earth


“Knowing the importance of a seed, the Buddha offered ways of preserving them. A cursory examination of the Vinaya Pitaka (the basket of monastic disciplinary rules) reveals the lengths to which the Buddha went in his mission to cement an ethic of non-violence, compassion, and environmental responsibility. Through dedication to the protection of all living creatures, as well as plants and seeds, the monastic rules provide an organic response that frames deep compassion for the natural world as both a spiritual and ecological necessity.”

—Ven. Bhante Buddharakkhita
Essay: There Is No Life Without a Seed and There Is No Seed Without a Life


“Every seed contains a light. Through greed and disconnection from the sacredness of life, this light is threatened. Genetically modified seeds become sterile. If the fertility is removed from a seed, its light is taken away; it withdraws. The divine light that is present in every seed is manifested through its fertility, through the potential to grow and to be a source for new life. When this light withdraws from a seed, it withdraws from the whole of creation, and our souls begin to starve.”

—Angela Fischer
Essay: Listening to the Hidden Heart of Seeds


“We ought not to be impressed with the wealth that the giants of agribusiness have amassed in the presence of poverty today. What we must pay attention to is that this wealth was acquired on the backs of the poor. The extension of intellectual property rights over seeds facilitates a concentration of the resources and wealth required to sustain human life in very few hands and is directly related to the massive debt, displacement, and dispossession of the masses. This reveals the great disregard that this system has for human life: it not only produces poverty, but relies on poverty to grow.”

—Poverty Initiative: Shailly Barnes, Adam Barnes, Rev. Liz Theoharis, Rev. Kathy Maskell
Essay: And the Last Shall Be First


“If we understand that our lives sprang from ‘seeds’ (sperm and eggs united), and cannot continue without seeds, then we will understand that we have to be careful about the seed from which everything was created.”

—Aliaa Rafea
Essay: Seeds and the Miracle of Life


“From a yogic point of view, therefore, nature is not dead matter to shape to our will, but the expression of sacred Self in the physical world. If we forget this ecological basis of spirituality, we will lose our foundation in the Earth that provides the support for our journey back to the light.”

—Swami Omkarananda
Essay: The DNA of Our SOUL Cannot Be Genetically Modified!


“The seed carries the collective memory of the species that it represents, including the specifics of its modes of adaptation.”

—Acharya David Frawley
Essay: The Power and Importance of the Seed: The Heritage of Nature’s Intelligence


“In one breath, all human beings are beloved. In the next breath, every species of plant and animal is sacred in its distinctiveness. And what connects these is the Breath of Life Itself…”

—Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Essay: The Interbreath of Life and the Seeds It Scatters ‘Round Our Planet


“We need to set up self-regulatory spiritual institutions not based on our previous understanding of life, but rather to monitor, evaluate, and give nature a chance to speak out.”

—Chief Tamale Bwoya of Uganda
Essay: The Rejuvenating Power of Seeds


“Since ancient times the vegetable seeds have been recognized by humans as great allies. For many thousands of years they have been collected, carefully stored, and planted with wisdom and harmony. From Nature we have learned how important seeds are, worthy of the sacredness of the life they carry. For many thousands of years, humans have been aware of the fact that our evolution depended on the seed’s gift of life. In balance with the mystery of life, through the seeds we plant, we feed ourselves, our elderly, our children and even the animals we have a more direct relationship with.”

—Rev. Doju Dinajara Freire
Essay: Our Great Little Relatives—Seeds!


“When you use the sacred seed to connect to Nature, you connect to Life.”

—Nan Lu
Essay: The Seed and the Tao


“We have substituted a ‘take, make, and waste’ mentality (take from the earth, make things, and put the waste back into the earth) for what was intended—to simply borrow from the earth, use its resources, and then replenish the land.”

—Rev. Richard Cizik
Essay: The Parable of the Sower


“Therein lies the secret of the seed—it is in fact the whole world enfolding itself, condensed into a Seed.”

—Sraddhalu Ranade
Essay: The Secret of the Seed


“Seeds are the transcendent stuff of life, for so much about our lives comes from seeds.”

—Blu Greenberg
Essay: Seeds Are the Transcendent Stuff of Life


“The ‘sacred seed’ is God’s gift to humanity.”

—Teny Pirri-Simonian
Essay: The Stunted Seed


“The first thought was the first seed-ing of creation. What we do in planting and cultivating seeds are first thoughts. When a person wakes with seeds of thought, creation, action, remedy, healing, nourishment, generosity, appreciation, and intelligence, it is one word—Nasula. The word in simpler terms means your brain (head), thoughts, eyes, ears, nose, voice, and taste (instinctuals). It is a ‘seed of the heart’ (intuitionals) and the heart changes instinctual elements into intuition—a seed-ing.”

—Tiokasin Ghosthorse
Essay: The Seed-ing of Consciousness, Seed-ing of the Heart


“In the modern age of commercialism we have been introduced to the concept of ‘Bio Nullius,’ or empty life, on which anyone can claim ‘intellectual property rights.’ Claiming rights on seeds, biodiversity, and life-forms is the result of such an unrealistic approach. In reality, Nature has deep interconnectedness and is not empty. Seeds are not a human invention, but rather represent millions of years of biological evolution.”

—Sufi Rehman Mahaiyaddeen
Essay: Seeds and the Cosmic Seeding of Oneness


“The seed holds a very great secret—it never gets old. It is the eternal YES to life.”

—Anat Vaughan-Lee
Essay: The Language of the Seed


“The air we breathe, the light of the sun, oceans, rivers, mountains and forests, seeds and plants—are all manifestations of Brahman, God. Therefore, every atom of this creation is sacred.”

—Swamini Svatmavidyananda
Essay: Cosmic Ecology and Diversity: Lessons from the Vedas


“Seeds are connection, fertility. To destroy them is not only to damage ourselves, but to diminish the planet’s storehouse. It is to harm those who crawl, who fly, who swim, who run, whose roots are still. What is needed instead is to recognize our wild relations, to respect all our relations.”

—Mary Ann Burris
Essay: Seeds and the Sacred


“Our ancient relationship to Seeds is at the very center of our culture from Planting to Harvesting Ceremonies. All of our Longhouse Ceremonies involve giving thanks for the unfolding of Creation and for Seeds, which are the essence of the Natural Law that ensures all Life will continue.”

—Dan Longboat Roronhiakewen (He Clears the Sky)
Essay: A Haudenosaunee Reflection on “Seed: The Power of Life”


The mystic Julian of Norwich, holding an acorn in her hand in the fourteenth century said of it, “In this is all that is.” The Earth shakes at the thought of the simple truth of it.
In every seed is the gift of life to those seeking life, wanting life, denied the kind of life that is full of energy, full of hope. But the hope is a tenuous one, a sacred one, one to be treated with awe for fear of our own failure to protect it.
Seeds are the one thing that are the only genuine promise we have of the future. “Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow,” Martin Luther wrote, “I would plant an apple tree today.” It is an insight that defies despair, that promises new life in the midst of the old. It is a beacon that cries out for commitment in an age such as ours when the seeds of destruction among us—greed, power, and control—are in mortal struggle with the seeds of life.
And now, so accustomed have we become to destruction in the name of progress, we are on the brink of commercializing seed, of politicizing seed, of monopolizing seed, of genetically modifying seeds for the sake of someone’s control of creation, of making seed the new military weapon of the twenty-first century.
It is all a matter of valuing the money we can make today more than we value the life that is meant to come.
But the problem is that we ourselves are all seeds, too. We are either seeds of universal love or seeds of exploitative racism. We are seeds of eternal hope or we are seeds of starving despair. We are seeds of a new humanity or we are the harbingers of humanity’s decay.
It is a choice. A conscious choice that depends on what we see in seeds and how we treat them and whose we think they are and what we will do to keep them free and available. Or not.
We are the seed of our own life to come and the life of the planet as well. Indeed, “In the seed is everything that is.”

—Sister Joan Chittister
Essay: Seeds of a New Humanity